As soon as I typed the word “friendships”, I heard the song “You’ve Got to Have Friends”. Yes, every person needs to have friends or at least a friend. But what is it about maintaining friendships that seems to be so difficult?
I struggle to make friends. But once I do, I struggle to keep them. I get very personal pretty quickly in the relationship. I figure I need to share with them everything. I have had one too many women run for the hills. I guess I need to pray for a filter early in the relationship. I replay conversations I have had to make sure I have not offended. I walk on eggshells within a relationship. Why?
In my past I have had a few close friends hurt me deeply. I protect myself by setting up walls. I may be open with information, but not that open to allowing other to get too close. I am so afraid that I will lose a friend, I will not confront. (I wrote a blog about confronting once.) I basically am giving others permission to walk all over me with their bad behavior. Not healthy, huh?
When it comes to having healthy relationships, I fail. Until this morning I could not for the life of me figure out why. I have ladies in my life that I know God placed there. But this morning I heard a podcast that has me stunned. I listened and learned that God designed community (friendships) to reflect Him, not us. Wait, What?
She talked of Paul encouraging others to go ahead of him. I have studied Philippians and have enjoyed the study; however, I have never made the connection that he was wanting others to be more successful than himself. That means, he encouraged his friends to go beyond his success. I thought he encouraged them to pick up where he left off.
The podcast asked or at least had me asking, “where do I find my significance?” Am I seeking to find my significance in others? Or am I allowing others to point me to Christ and find my significance in Him? Honestly? I fail at finding my significance in Him. So, there’s a struggle that goes on within my relationships. I try to find who I am in others. And when those people hurt me or withdraw from me, I move on to the next person eventually.
Yesterday I was looking up scripture about relationships. I found two in my searching, wrote them down and left them until today. After listening to the podcast, I looked at the first scripture from yesterday and understood why He gave it to me. Ephesians 4:3 “Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” You see, that is me. I am all too eager to find peace but fail to bring the Spirit into the mix. I am learning I need to find my voice face to face and not hide behind a screen.
The other scripture is Romans 15:5-6 “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” With the podcast in mind, we need to place God at the center of every relationship. We need to reflect His design for community in our community. We need to offer grace wherever we can, we need to forgive at every turn, and we need to thank Him for those He places in our lives. We need to encourage our friends to take that step and not feel threatened by it. If they succeed where you have not, then find a way to celebrate with them.
Sometimes our pride gets in the way. When it does, there is hurt. Let’s face it, we are human, and we will hurt each other. Open communication is needed within a friendship, even if one friend does not seem to want to confess some issues. How are your friendships? Messy? Maybe, like me, you need to look at where you are finding your significance. It is hard to look to Christ every minute of every day, I get that. However, it is where we will find our significance, our place and our joy. Others cannot fill that need.
The podcast is: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/18427172?utm_medium=widget&utm_term=episode_title&utm_source=user%3A11316993 Her teachings are amazing and directly to the heart.